Date: 23rd December 2020 at 10:20am
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Gary Neville has pointed out one major problem that is holding back Arsenal this season, and that’s their horrendous problem with keeping their discipline.

It’s hard enough trying to win in the Premier League, and it’s even harder when you’re essentially giving the other team a boost along the way by giving away stupid fouls and ending up in the book. Arsenal are no strangers to that this season, with the Gunners ranked joint-sixth when it comes to yellow cards handed out and joint-top of the table when it comes to reds.

And speaking on the latest edition of The Gary Neville Podcast, Neville said that it’s a massive problem for them, with one player in particular coming under scrutiny:

“I mean every time [Granit Xhaka] plays, he commits 100 fouls. He can be sent off in many more matches with the accumulation of free-kicks he gives away. And then you just think red cards, the [Nicolas] Pepe one when we were at Leeds with that one, yeah ill-discipline is a problem.”

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It certainly is a far cry from the Arsene Wenger days when he used to demand his players be protected from the rough tactics that teams used to implement back then, now it seems as if the tables have turned.

That is not to suggest Mikel Arteta is encouraging it, especially given his comments after the Nicolas Pepe red card, but it’s time that his words started having an impact. They didn’t with Granit Xhaka against Burnley, and Mohamed Elneny could also have seen red on another day for his incident with James Tarkowski.

Arsenal have got enough problems to be dealing with right now, and if they are to get over them, then keeping eleven men on the pitch is probably going to help them a lot if they are to do it. Otherwise, each game is going to turn into scrapping to save a point rather than pushing on to get all three.